Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science

First Committee Member

John Tuman

Second Committee Member

Jonathan Strand

Third Committee Member

Tiffiany Howard

Fourth Committee Member

Bernard Malamud

Number of Pages



Since the breakup of the colonial empires following World War II, many newly independent states have embarked on a path of seeking political and economic development. Scholars studying this phenomenon soon became aware of an interesting puzzle. Why do the economies that have substantial natural resource endowments at their disposal tend to develop at a slower rate than economies that are less endowed with natural resources? From this question, the resource curse theory was derived. The resource curse theory has three main claims. The first claim is that resource rich economies grow at a slower rate than non-resource rich economies. The second claim is that resource rich states are more prone to conflict. The last claim, that resource rich states are more prone to corruption, will be addressed by this study. Using data on resource rents and resource exports, this study utilizes statistical modeling to test the relationship between natural resource endowments and corruption. This study finds that only fuel related natural resources have a statistically significant and negative relationship with perceptions of corruption due to asset specificity and relative scarcity.


Corruption; Economic development; Political corruption; Political development; Postcolonialism; Resource curse; Resource rents


Economics | Growth and Development | International and Area Studies | Political Science

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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